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Three exciting things about iOS 9 and the enterprise

By Andrew Garver | September 03, 2015 | 0 Comments

Recently, I ran across this helpful article describing the iOS 9 features being delivered to the enterprise. I won’t repeat the text verbatim, but allow me to call out three capabilities that are particularly exciting for the EMM space:

1) iOS version control

iOS 9 gives enterprises the ability to hold iOS devices from updating to the next version (when the enterprise releases it, though, the update is then controlled by the end user). Admittedly, this is restricted to DEP devices, but Apple seems to be pushing DEP more than in the past. This is a big deal–it gives enterprises with a pure DEP model breathing room when iOS-next is officially released.

This does not absolve most organizations from the challenge around BYOD and other use cases where DEP is inappropriate. Those scenarios should still aim for day 0 (or a minimal delay) support of iOS-next.

2) Distribute public apps without the App Store enabled

There’s a gap in the current EMM strategy for “managed apps” when they are sourced from the public app store. Currently, an EMM can leverage iOS ManagedAppConfig APIs for basic MAM controls like enforcing encryption, Open In control, etc. However, this requires the app to be downloaded from the enterprise app store–apps downloaded directly from the public app store are not managed apps. This would not in itself be a problem, save for one thing: Turning off the public app store via configuration policy eliminates the ability to link to those apps from the enterprise app store! So an organization basically had to tell their users “Download this public app only from our app store. Please.”

In iOS 9, this is fixed–public apps can be distributed through the enterprise app store even if the public app store is disabled on the device. Whew!

3) Convert unmanaged apps to managed apps

Finally!  A migration path from unmanaged to managed apps. Previously, users had to delete the unmanaged version of the app and install the managed app from the enterprise app store. Not a great user experience. In iOS 9, these unmanaged apps can be converted by the EMM to managed apps without deletion or data loss. Great!

Hopefully enterprises are well underway in their testing of iOS 9 and the impact it has on their apps–if not, get started today! There are many more enterprise capabilities in iOS 9–these 3 particularly stood out to me as they solve user experience headaches for end users and operations teams alike.

What about you? What iOS 9 enterprise features do you most look forward to?

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